A defiant Manhattan federal prosecutor, in announcing his firing after he refused to resign, says “absolute independence” was his touchstone for over seven years as he battled public corruption. Related Items
Calling for religious harmony and unity, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday participated in a Rath Yatra celebration organised here by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). The newly elected Trinamool Congress MP from Basirhat, Nusrat Jahan, joined Ms. Banerjee at the celebration. Ms. Jahan was invited to the event by ISKCON.“We celebrate all festivals in West Bengal irrespective of caste, creed or religion. Under the leadership of ‘Didi’ [Ms. Banerjee], we believe that Bengal is the seat of peace and amity,” Ms. Jahan said, addressing the gathering from the stage. The MP was accompanied by her husband Nikhil Jain.The BJP also participated in a number of Rath Yatra celebrations where party leaders Mukul Roy and Arvind Menon were present.
Two notorious criminals were killed in an encounter with police in New Mandi area here on Tuesday, an official said.They were involved in several cases of loot and murder. Rohit alias Sandu and Rakesh were carrying cash rewards of ₹one lakh and ₹50,000 on their heads, respectively, ADG Prashant Kumar said. During the encounter, two policemen also sustained injuries, he said. Police have seized two pistols, cartridges and a motorcycle, Mr. Kumar added.
The National Commission for Women on Monday wrote to Uttar Pradesh Director-General of Police O.P. Singh seeking a ‘free, fair and speedy’ investigation into the alleged road accident involving Unnao rape survivor.“The commission is seriously concerned about the unfortunate incident. Considering the gravity of the matter, it is required to ensure absolutely free, fair and speedy investigation into the matter and take action deemed appropriate for the crime committed. The commission also demands that it be kept apprised at every stage of the investigation,” NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma wrote in her letter.Delay in casesSenior Supreme Court lawyer and women’s rights activist Vrinda Grover says it is the delay in disposing cases that render victims extremely vulnerable.“Where a perpetrator is powerful and victim is from a vulnerable group, it is apparent that that the law is not going to take its own course and the police are not going to act in accordance with the law. So, extraordinary measures will have to be taken to ensure the girl gets justice. I have always maintained that the best form of victim protection is a speedy trial. The chargesheet in the case was filed last July, but the case has not been adjudicated yet, while the survivor’s uncle has been framed in several cases which are moving by leaps and bounds. This is a classic textbook case of what happens when a victim comes from a very vulnerable group and seeks justice.”She added that if there was any political will to ensure reversal in crimes against women and girls, that the party ruling at the Centre and in Uttar Pradesh so often talks about, the accused BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar would have been suspended.White PaperMs. Grover says that the government must issue a White Paper providing details of what stage the case was at, why was there a delay in disposing it of, who got adjournments, what reports were sent by the court concerned to the district judge and what was the supervision being done by the High Court of such cases.According to the last NCRB report for 2016, 89.8% cases of crimes against women brought before courts remained pending.
Chandrashekhar Azad, the fiery Dalit activist from Uttar Pradesh shot to prominence in 2017 when he was jailed for over a year for a Thakur-Dalit clash in Saharanpur. Called ‘Ravan’ by his followers, in a subaltern challenge to BJP’s Ram, Azad famously put up a signboard in his village that read, ‘The Great Chamars of Dhadkhauli Welcome You’.The 32-year-old, who leads the Bhim Army, is seen as one of the faces of an emerging radical Bahujan movement. With his twirled moustache, iconic dark blue scarf, and Enfield Bullet, Azad makes a statement wherever he goes, and it’s obvious he was the inspiration behind the character of Nishad in the recent Bollywood film, Article 15.He is in jail again, this time in Delhi, over protests against the demolition of Ravidas Mandir, a temple for poet-saint Ravidas of the 16th century who has a large Dalit following. He met The Hindu when he was in Karnataka a few days before his arrest. Excerpts:The demolition of the Ravidas Mandir has created a new flashpoint between Dalits and the Centre. But the government says it was the Supreme Court that ordered the demolition for violating zoning norms?It was the Delhi Development Authority that sought to demolish the temple, not the Supreme Court. The government used the court to achieve its end. The issue finally boils down to respecting Bahujan cultural symbols. PM Narendra Modi visited Ravidas Mandir in Varanasi earlier this year and said he was a devotee of Sant Ravidas. Now he must take the lead in restoring the temple or his hypocrisy will be exposed. We will launch a nationwide protest demanding its restoration on the same spot.The recent Bollywood film, Article 15, had a character modelled on you. Did you see the film? There has been criticism that instead of telling the story of caste oppression from the perspective of the Dalit, the movie did it from the perspective of a Brahmin officer. What is your take on this?I have not seen the film. But the opposition to the film by the upper castes and the right wing is telling of how the entire system works against Dalits. Maybe it is not time to tell the story from a Dalit perspective in the mainstream. Maybe the film wouldn’t have released at all if that were the case. But I have heard of recent films in the South with Dalit protagonists. I feel the progressives among the upper castes need to come forward to question caste hierarchy. But it is time we lead our struggles and tell our stories and those from other castes need to support us.Many are critical of the style of Bhim Army, though not its substance. They argue that violence only begets more violence. What is your take?We have the right to fight for our rights and don’t have to tolerate any oppression. It is time our voices rang louder on the streets. Bhim Army is Ambedkarite in its outlook — Educate, Organise and Agitate. We believe nothing comes without struggle and we are ready for any sacrifice. We are not attacking anyone, but if someone comes into our homes and hits us, we will not hesitate to retaliate in self-defence. When the system is so geared up against us, what else can we do? I was blamed for the violence in Saharanpur and arrested, but nobody speaks of the violence wrecked on us. The state brands Dalits who raise their voice as Naxals, as we have seen in Bhima Koregaon, and Muslims as terrorists.Does the rise of radical Dalit leaders and their large followings among the youth indicate the failure of mainstream Dalit politics?Mainstream Dalit parties have failed repeatedly. A student who has all the resources but fails exams repeatedly cannot claim to be a brilliant student. Most of our politicians today are crorepatis; they come from dynasties that don’t know our problems. We cannot let their failure fail the movement. These parties are severely compromised on the ideological front, including in allying with a brahminical party like the BJP. As these leaders remain stuck in AC rooms, the youngsters fight on the streets, giving rise to new leaders and a militant movement.The BJP now seeks to claim the legacy of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, even to defend the revoking of Article 370 in J&K. The BSP has supported the move. How do you view the government’s handling of Dalit issues?Brahminism is in the DNA of the BJP and its ideological mentor, the RSS. This seeks to impose the Manusmriti, which doesn’t allot any power to Shudras and Dalits. While we can become the President of India, we still cannot enter a temple. The social forces that this regime has emboldened, giving them impunity, have translated into increased atrocities against minorities, Dalits and tribals. Dalits are the biggest targets of lynchings, even more than Muslims.On Kashmir, the future of Dalits cannot be seen in isolation. It is linked with the aspirations of Kashmiris. It is better if BJP stops trying to appropriate Ambedkar as it is a legacy they can never claim and it only exposes their hypocrisy.RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat has called for an open debate on reservations.The RSS-BJP has always been anti-reservation and their agenda is to subvert reservation. By giving reservation to the poor among upper castes, they have done exactly that. Reservation has always been about correcting social and educational backwardness, not economic. This government has been keen on disinvestment of PSUs, which essentially hits Dalits, as there is no reservation in the private sector. Mohan Bhagwat’s statement only reflects the anti-Dalit mindset of the RSS-BJP. We are ready for a debate on reservation with Mohan Bhagwat. Let us debate on what we have really got from reservation in the last seven decades. Even today 54% of Dalits don’t own any land. We will tell what we have gained and what we have lost because of caste in this society.The Opposition has failed to defeat BJP electorally, despite the Mahagathbandhan of the SP-BSP in UP. How can you counter the BJP, even as many aspirational Shudra and Dalit classes cosy up to the party?The only way to fight BJP is to take to the streets. They may have a majority in Parliament but we [Bahujans] have a majority on the streets. All pro-Constitution forces need to unite for this fight. Though we may have failed once, that should not deter us. More than political alliances between parties, we need to mobilise people on the ground. Any truck with the BJP is against the interests of the Bahujan community. We need to expose this and convince people.Was the SP-BSP alliance fraught with contradictions, as in the villages it is the OBCs and Dalits who are often in confrontation with each other? Is an OBC-Dalit alliance practical?We in the Bhim Army believe the Bahujan community includes all oppressed classes — Dalits, Adivasis, Shudras and minorities — and we will work towards bringing these classes together in the villages at a social level. Bahujan unity is the key to countering the larger Manuvad [parties] ruling us today.There has been an argument that the Left and Dalit movements must unite. Do you feel synergising these two mass movements is the way ahead?Bahujan politics is the politics of kamzor log (the weak) and we are ready to support anyone participating in these politics, in a pro-Constitution manner. I believe, while there may be several organisations working independently, we need to come together to fight on common issues, be it various Dalit organisations or even the Left. But enough of us voting others to make them leaders, now we want others to vote for our leadership. Historically, it is time this happened.Bhim Army is in expansion mode. Your success in UP has been organic. Can you replicate it elsewhere?Our success in UP is largely due to the Bhim Shaalas we run, evening and holiday schools in villages and slums where we educate Bahujan youth in English, help them with studies and impart political education to help them cultivate a Bahujan consciousness. Bhim Army runs 1,700 such schools in UP, which has given us a committed cadre. We will soon begin Bhim Shaalas across the country. India is a diverse land and we will factor that in. Bhim Army will be the loudest voice on the streets for Bahujans everywhere.Is Bhim Army on its way to becoming a political party or are you caught between remaining a social movement and entering electoral politics?Bhim Army is not averse to electoral politics, but it is not an organisation that is only political. We will always remain part of the larger Bahujan movement; electoral politics is only one of the means to further the cause. We follow both Ambedkar and Kanshi Ram and believe the Bahujan community, which has a majority in society, must come to power.You had dropped ‘Ravan’ from your name but now it is back?It is the people who lovingly called me Ravan for taking on the BJP. But I realised BJP was trying to polarise the people as supporters of Ram and Ravan in Varanasi when I announced I would contest against Narendra Modi. So, I announced I was dropping Ravan from my name. But now that the elections are over and people like calling me Ravan, it is email@example.com
LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. As for Dillinger, there is nothing strange with De Ocampo thriving in big moments since all of his titles were won with the big man being hoisting the trophy up with him.“I’ve been playing with that guy for so long and as soon as he got here we meshed right from the start,” said Dillinger. “Everyone knows what Ranidel is, everyone knows his game and his accomplishments so to have a guy like that on our team, who’s been through so much, it just gives us a legitimate shot at the title this year.”Dillinger has been so accustomed to De Ocampo that he can afford to throw shade at his bearded teammate.“He’s never going too fast, he’s like the slowest guy out there but he knows how to get to his spots, I can’t see enough nice things about that guy. It’s Ranidel, Mr. Delightful!”ADVERTISEMENT Read Next Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC BSP sees higher prices in November, but expects stronger peso, low rice costs to put up fight Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City LOOK: Loisa Andalio, Ronnie Alonte unwind in Amanpulo for 3rd anniversary Improving Star’s chemistry priority for Victolero for next season Nonong Araneta re-elected as PFF president MOST READ PBA IMAGESBoth Jared Dillinger and Allen Durham have been under the bright lights of the PBA Finals.Dillinger is a proud owner of five PBA championships while Durham was the defender of Justin Brownlee in what became arguably the biggest shot in Ginebra’s championship history.ADVERTISEMENT Frontrow holds fun run to raise funds for young cancer patients Fire hits houses in Mandaluyong City While they have enough finals experience between them, both players will still look up to six-time champion Ranidel De Ocampo once the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup finals roll in.“He’s a huge addition,” said Durham of the veteran forward Thursday after the Bolts clinched the Finals berth with a 91-88 win over Star in Game 3 at Smart Araneta Coliseum .FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“You guys saw we struggled a little bit and then Ranidel came and hit a big shot, that’s what he’s been doing for years, for TNT, and now he can do it for us. I’m happy he’s on our team now.”Meralco held an 86-83 lead with less than two minutes left in overtime when De Ocampo drilled a long two-pointer that gave them an 88-83 buffer at the 1:21 mark. Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games View comments
China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “They did not give up until the very end,” AMA coach Mark Herrera said. “This win will boost our confidence.”Bonleon led the Titans with 16 points, while Jaycee Ascuncion tallied 14 points, five boards, two steals and two assists.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsIn the second outing, Centro Escolar University rallied late in the fourth quarter to turn back Marinerong Pilipino, 70-57, for a 4-2 slate.Orlan Wamar Jr. led with 16 points while Rodrigue Ebondo and Uri Christian combined for 24 points for the Scorpions, who erected a 68-49 cushion after a 9-1 run. —CARLO ANOLIN, CONTRIBUTOR Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Cocolife holds off Generika LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera MOST READ Nikki Valdez rushes self to ER due to respiratory tract infection Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ LATEST STORIES Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Orlan Wamar. PBA IMAGESMario Bonleon nailed a clutch free throw as AMA Online Education slipped past Gamboa Coffee Mix, 67-66, to score its first win in six games in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena.Bonleon nailed one of two free throws with 8.3 seconds left after getting fouled by Gamboa’s playing coach Leo Avenido.ADVERTISEMENT View comments
Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES El Nido residents told to vacate beach homes LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Tiamzon relishes return to form in win over Adamson Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong Creamline assistant coach Oliver Almadro said his team didn’t play at its fullest in the third set and the coaching staff had to remind the players to pick up the intensity in the fourth.“Well I saw that they started off properly in the fourth set and they upped the intensity right away,” said Almadro.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars“We started right in the third set but we didn’t have that much intensity so we told them to pick it up, start it properly and end it properly.”Alyssa Valdez led the Cool Smashers with 23 points while Rosemarie Vargas and Pau Soriano combined for 21 points. Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netCreamline continued its impressive start in the Premier Volleyball League Open Conference after stopping Philippine Air Force, 25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-12, Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.The Cool Smashers joined Pocari atop the ladder with identical 3-0 cards while the Lady Jet Spikers are in .500 territory with a 1-1 record.ADVERTISEMENT Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR MOST READ View comments Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Jia Morado, who had 71 excellent sets in her previous performance, had 36 assists this time.Iari Yongco led the Lady Jet Spikers with 18 points.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’
Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Cignal guns for crown vs CEU five CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/POOLKUALA LUMPUR—Malaysia managed to ruffle Gilas Pilipinas’ feathers, but it paid a big price for doing so.Before a loud crowd cheering for the host squad, the Philippines blew Malaysia apart, 98-66, to score its third straight win Wednesday night and inch closer to the Southeast Asian Games men’s basketball gold medal.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim As a result, Cruz and Amer were ejected with 5:41 left in the third quarter with Gilas protecting a 57-41 lead.Surprisingly, no Malaysian player was expelled after the incident.This fueled the Filipinos, who widened the gap to 73-46 going into the final period.Naturalized player Christian Standhardinger scored 18 points and got 18 rebounds for Gilas.Kobe Paras also had a solid outing for the second straight game to finish with 16 points off the bench.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters View comments Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games05:25PH boxing team determined to deliver gold medals for PH03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:45Onyok Velasco see bright future for PH boxing in Olympics02:25PH women’s volleyball team motivated to deliver in front of hometown crowd01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:36Manny Pacquiao part of 2019 SEA Games opening ceremony The Philippines needed some time to heat up, trailing Malaysia, 15-20, in the first quarter as it put up poor defense and could not hit its shots.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul The win, which came after victories over Thailand and Myanmar, assured the Philippines of a place in the semifinals.Filipino fans packed the MABA stadium cheering for the Gilas Cadets, which is practically guaranteed the gold medal here.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingThings got a little hot in the third quarter when Kuek Tian Yuan fouled Kevin Ferrer and locked up the arm of the former UST star.This drew the ire of the Gilas players with Baser Amer, Bryan Cruz and Troy Rosario engaging Malaysian players in a pushing contest.
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Sub-continent pitches have been known for favouring the batsmen and giving bowlers nightmares, but if the warm-up matches are any indication, the Test nations – barring India’s score of 360 for five against New Zealand on Wednesday – have found it tough to post big totals except when they have played against the minnows.Former and current Indian players believe that it will be the bowlers who will hold the key to this edition of the World Cup and selecting the right bowling combination will definitely give the captains a headache.Former left-arm spinner Maninder Singh, India’s highest wickettaker in the 1987 edition of the World Cup, feels it will not just be about the spinners.”Frankly, one can’t expect the ball to swing in the sub-continent as much as they do in Australia, England or South Africa. But the new Kookaburra ball will definitely swing in the first six or seven overs and the pacers have to ensure that they go all-out to impose pressure on the batsmen,” Maninder said.Their next role will be to get the ball to reverse-swing. In the modern era, all the top pacers have mastered the art of reverse swinging the ball. As a result, the spell from the 28th over to the 34th over will be crucial as the ball will definitely be reversing. This is where the Pakistan bowlers will turn up the heat. Umar Gul and Shoaib Akhtar can never be discounted when it comes to reversing the ball. Even Zaheer Khan has become more of a thinking bowler and he will definitely save up some energy to hurl the reverse-swinging yorkers in the death overs.advertisement”Although the Kookaburra ball doesn’t have a pronounced seam, the spinners will still come in handy as sub-continent wickets grip and turn even in ODIs. So, for me, bowlers will hold the advantage this time round and the batsmen will not have an easy ride – as expected by many.”Maninder also stressed on the importance of part-time bowlers. “The part-time bowlers will need to be used well. While all teams have gone in with specialist pacers and spinners, the part-timers will come into play in a big way as often we will see them being used to check the flow of runs in the middle-overs,” he said.Batting legend Rahul Dravid echoed Maninder’s sentiments saying it was India’s strong list of part-time bowlers that gave them the edge.”India have a well-balanced outfit with a number of spinning allrounders or part-timers. This gives us a big advantage,” he said.Although he was a top-class offspinner himself, Erapalli Prasanna feels the contribution of the pacers can’t be discounted especially on Indian pitches where reverseswing will come in to play.”The nature of the sub-continent pitches will be perennially slow, helping the spinners. But a lot will depend on the pacers as well in the first 10 overs. Also, getting the ball to reverse in the latter stages will be crucial. As far as India is concerned, the crucial factor for me is how Zaheer leads the pace attack in the powerplay and how the spinners and part-time bowlers bowl in the span between the 25th and 40th overs,” he said.Former Test opener Aakash Chopra feels contrary to popular belief, it is going to be the bowlers who will run the show.”The quality of bowling attack will be crucial. Since most teams will be looking to score heavily, it will be the teams that can restrict the opposition who will win the matches. Restriction will be the key,” he said.Former pacer Madan Lal too feels bowlers will hold the key on the slow and low sub-continent wickets. “If the bowlers use their brains and stick to a wicket-to-wicket line, it will be very difficult for the batsmen to score as the ball won’t be coming on to the bat easily. A restricting line can force the batsmen to hit out or get out. Scoring high in the powerplays will also be playing heavily on the batsmen’s mind,” he said.”I feel even the part-timers will be crucial to the success of the teams. Someone like a Chris Gayle will also be useful just like a Yuvraj or a Yusuf.”With Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Smith already criticising the slow nature of the wickets – making batting difficult – it isn’t a surprise that the bowlers will be instrumental to teams’ success in the Cup.
US President Barack Obama.US President Barack Obama was likely to announce the drawdown of American troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, senior administration officials said.However, the White House insisted that Obama has made no decision so far, but said the decision on it would be made “very soon”.”The president is still in the process of finalising his decision on the pace and scope of the drawdown that will begin in July of 2011,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.”He (Obama) is finalising his decision. He’s reviewing the options and the assessments and will have an announcement to make soon,” he said in response to a question.Diplomats from various countries in the knowhow of information being shared by the Obama Administration, said the withdrawal was likely to be equivalent to the 30,000 surge announced by Obama in December 2009. Currently there are about 100,000 US troops serving in Afghanistan.Obamas top commander for Afghanistan, General David Patraeus, is in Washington this week, giving rise to the speculation that the announcement is imminent. The Pentagon too refused to entertain questions related to the announcement.”He (Obama) has had a number of consultations with his national security team, all members from, obviously, his uniform command, his civilian leadership, rather, all the principals on the national security team. He is continuing those consultations and will have an announcement soon,” Carney said.He said there has been significant progress in disrupting or halting the momentum of the Taliban and in stabilising Afghanistan and the government to allow Afghan national security forces to build up, to train and prepare for taking over the lead.advertisement”We have made significant progress towards achieving those goals. Obviously, the most sensational and significant data point in that progress, of that progress, is the elimination of Osama bin Laden. But, there has been enormous progress in disrupting and dismantling al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region beyond and below Laden,” the official said.”So he looks at this decision as a part of a process, of a policy he put in motion in December of 2009. He said at the time that he would begin the drawdown of the surge forces in July of 2011. That will happen; the pace and scope of that will depend on his assessment of how far we have come in achieving the goals that he set out,” he added.- With PTI inputsFor more news on India, click here.For more news on Business, click here.For more news on Movies, click here.For more news on Sports, click here.
The so-called crusade against corruption launched by noted social activist Anna Hazare is up for hijack by Telugu Desam Party president N Chandrababu Naidu to run down the ruling Congress party and gain political mileage in Andhra Pradesh.Apparently aiming at projecting himself as “Andhra Anna Hazare,” Naidu on Tuesday led a massive rally with hundreds of party workers in Hyderabad in protest against the arrest of the veteran Gandhian in New Delhi.Later, he staged a dharna along with party leaders at the Tank Bund on the banks of Hussainsagar lake, demanding immediate release of Anna. He strongly condemned the arrest of Anna and announced that he would go on day-long fast in support of the fight against corruption. The TDP president is also contemplating taking up indefinite fast in New Delhi in the first week of September on corruption and also agricultural crisis in the state.The exact date would be decided after discussion at the politburo meeting, party sources said. Ironically, Naidu himself had faced several charges of corruption during his nine-year rule between 1995 and 2004. Some of the allegations that he had faced during his regime were: promotion of his own company Heritage Foods at the cost of government dairy in Chittoor district, kickbacks during the land acquisition for Yeleru reservoir and social welfare hostels in Visakhapatnam, granting of excise contractors on extraneous considerations that caused a loss of Rs 500 crore to the state exchequer, allotment of 1000 acres of land for IMG-Bharata in the name of development of international sports complex etc.advertisementAt one stage, the CPI-M brought out a booklet against Naidu in the name of: “Chandrababu Zamana, Avineeti Khazana” (Chandrababu’s rule was the most corrupt), which formed the basis for former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy to attack him in and out of the assembly. However, there has been no case of corruption pending against Naidu at present.The TDP president was holding a meeting of the party’s extended executive committee meeting at NTR Trust Bhavan, the party’s headquarters at Banjara Hills, when the reports of Anna’s arrest reached him. He immediately cancelled the meeting and announced that he would take out a rally in support of the arrested Gandhian.Setting aside his party flag, Naidu held the national flag and went on a 10-km long march from the party office to Ambedkar Statue at Tank Bund. Hundreds of party workers including MLAs participated in the rally and many others passers-by joined it midway. After reaching the Tank Bund, he garlanded the statue of Ambedkar and sat on a dharna till evening.The protesters demanded immediate release of Anna Hazare and his supporters. They raised slogans of “Down with corrupt government” and “Bring Jan Lokpal bill”. The protest threw traffic out of gear in busy areas like Punjagutta, Khairatabad, Secretariat and Tank Bund. “The response to the rally was overwhelming and spontaneous. It shows how the people are fed up with the corrupt Congress government. We will continue this fight till we achieve the goal,” senior TDP leader Yanamala Ramakrishnudu said.Meanwhile, the arrest of Anna evoked strong reaction from opposition parties, civil society groups and youth and student organizations in various universities across the state. Though the normal life was not disrupted much, there were protest rallies and relay hunger strikes in various parts of the state. At Indira Park in Hyderabad, hundreds of youth and students under the banner of India Against Corruption, Hyderabad chapter, took out a rally protest against Anna’s arrest. They demanded immediate release of the veteran social worker. Some activists also launched a three-day fast at Indira Park to express solidarity with Anna.Rallies and fasts are also being held in Vijayawada, Guntur, Visakhapatnam, Vijayanagaram, Nizamabad and other towns. Students of Sri Venkateshwara University in Tirupati, Sri Krishna Devaraya University in Anantapur and JNTU in Kadapa also launched relay hunger strikes in support of Hazare. On Monday night, various organisations like Young India took out candlelight rallies at Tank Bund in support of Hazare.Lok Satta party president Dr Jayaprakash Narayan said with the arrest of Anna, the UPA government had lost the people’s support and moral right to rule the country. He demanded autonomous status to investigating agencies like CBI and ACB, besides extending the Jan Lok Pal institutions across the country.Noted social activist and former union energy secretary Dr E A S Sarma also expressed shock and distress at the arrest of Anna and his team. “It is nothing but a blatant attempt to shield the corrupt and gag the voice of the people of this country against the scourge of corruption and black money in India. The government’s motives are clear. We appeal to the civil society organizations all over the country to support Anna Hazare, despite differences in perception, if any, as his struggle against corruption is the people’s struggle against the well entrenched corrupt,” Dr Sarma said.advertisement